Recombination‐Based Assay (RBA) for Screening Bacteriophage Lambda Libraries

David M. Kurnit1

1 University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Molecular Biology
Unit Number:  Unit 6.12
DOI:  10.1002/0471142727.mb0612s27
Online Posting Date:  May, 2001
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The recombination‐based assay represents a convenient way to screen a complex library constructed in bacteriophage l for homology to a given sequence cloned into a specially designed plasmid. The technique serves to screen a bacteriophage library rapidly and efficiently with a sequence cloned into a plasmid; counterselection then yields the gene product of interest with its plasmid carrier deleted. Because 106 to 107 plaque‐forming units (pfu) may be screened using several petri dishes, and the homology for crossing‐over need only be greater than 25 bp, the RBA represents an efficient way to screen complex l libraries rapidly for homology to a given sequence. In this procedure, a l library is screened using a specially designed plasmid carrying the desired target sequence. Recombinants arising from cross‐over events between the plasmid and a bacteriophage carrying a corresponding region of homology are selected by their ability to grow on strain DM21. Growth of l on DM21 requires the presence of an allele encoded on the plasmid to suppress an amber mutation in the host strain that prevents l propagation. Recovery of the original phage carrying the target sequence requires a reversal of the homologous recombination event. This reversal occurs spontaneously, and is detected by PCR amplification using primers that flank the cloning site in the l vector.

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Table of Contents

  • Reagents and Solutions
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1:

  MaterialsFor recipes, see in this unit (or cross‐referenced unit); for common stock solutions, see appendix 22; for suppliers, see appendix 4.
  • DNA fragment encoding sequence of interest
  • Plasmid pAD1 (Fig. ; available from Dr. D. Kurnit)
  • recA+E. coli strain (Table 97.80.4711 or commercial suppliers)
  • recipeL broth (see recipe) with 50 µg/ml kanamycin (Table 97.80.4711)
  • Bacteriophage λ library (unit 5.8)
  • recipeLambda top agar (see recipe)
  • recipeLambda plates (see recipe), some with 50 µg/ml kanamycin and some with 100 µg/ml streptomycin (Table 97.80.4711)
  • recipeSuspension medium (SM; see recipe)
  • Chloroform
  • E. coli DM21, DM75, DM392, and DM1061 (Fig. and Table 6.12.1), saturated overnight cultures freshly grown in LB medium (unit 1.1) with 100 µg/ml streptomycin
    Table 6.2.1   MaterialsBacterial Strains Used

    Strain Genotype a Reference Comment
    DM21 lacZ YA536(am), dnaB266(am), Smr, hsdR+, hsdM+, ?tonAimm21 b 515 b519 nin5 att+ P1ban) Kurnit and Seed, 1990 sup0 lacZam; dnaBam
    DM75 lacZ YA536(am), Smr, hsdR+,, hsdM+, ?tonA Guarente et al., sup0 lacZam strain used by the author and collaborators is Smr, although the published genotype does not state this
    DM392 hsdR514 (hsdR, hsdM+), supE44, supF58, ?lacY1, galK2, galT22, metB1, trpR 55, Smr, ?tonA L. Enquist (unpub. observ.) sup+; made Smr by the author and collaborators
    DM1061 araD139, Δ(ara, leu)7697, ΔlacX74, galU, galK, Smr, hsdR, hsdM+, mcrA,mcrB, ?tonA Casadaban and Cohen, sup0

     aA question mark denotes characteristics that are likely, but not definite.
  • 100 mM IPTG (isopropyl thiogalactoside; Table 97.80.4711)
  • recipe2% Xgal in DMF (see recipe)
  • Additional reagents and equipment for subcloning DNA into plasmids (unit 3.16), culturing (unit 1.1) and transformation (unit 1.8) of bacteria, plating and titering λ phage (unit 1.11), β‐galactosidase assay (unit 1.4), and PCR amplification (unit 15.1)
NOTE: All incubations are at 37°C unless otherwise specified.
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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